6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Becoming Enemies brings the unique methods of critical oral history, developed to study flashpoints from the Cold War such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, to understand U.S. and Iranian relations from the fall of the Shah in 1978 through the Iranian hostage crisis and the Iraq-Iran war. Scholars and former officials involved with U.S. and UN policy take a fresh look at U.S and Iranian relations during this time, with special emphasis on the U.S. role in the Iran Iraq War. With its remarkable declassified documentation and oral testimony that bear directly on questions of U.S. policymaking with regard to the Iran-Iraq War, Becoming Enemies reveals much that was previously unknown about U.S. policy before, during, and after the war. They go beyond mere reportage to offer lessons regarding fundamental foreign policy challenges to the U.S. that transcend time and place.

Panelists include:
James Blight (Author and CIGI Chair in Foreign Policy Development at BSIA)
janet M. Lang (Author and
Adjunct Associate Professor of International Reations, Brown University
Malcolm Byrne (Author and Deputy Director, National Security Archive, George Washington University)
John Tirman (Author and
Executive Director and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT's Center for International Studies)
Bruce Riedel, (Senior Fellow, Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, former Iran and Middle East analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency)

David Ottaway, Wilson Center senior scholar will chair the event.

Visit the Rowman & Littlefield website to purchase the book.


  • Malcolm Byrne

  • James Blight

    CIGI Chair in Foreign Policy Development and Professor at BSIA
  • janet Lang

    Research Professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and the Department of History, University of Waterloo
  • Bruce Riedel

    Senior Fellow and Director, Brookings Intelligence Project, Brookings Institution; Author, Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States since FDR
  • John Tirman

    Executive Director and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT's Center for International Studies
  • David Ottaway

    David Ottaway

    Middle East Fellow
    Middle East specialist and former Washington Post Correspondent